Monday, July 24, 2017

Welcome home

I got home Sunday morning rather than Saturday evening because I can't fly anywhere without causing a major disruption in the atmosphere and air traffic. Nevertheless, I had a great time with my family in Montana and will be posting some pictures from the trip when I get things back to normal around here.
Trooper and Sparky

I received a great welcome by the dogs, but especially by Maya. I think she was genuinely worried about me all the time I was gone.

Tomorrow, incoming fosters! Stay tuned.

I think that even Max was glad to see me.
Maya with her head on Gigi, both girls as close
to me as possible.
Maya next to me and Trooper on the floor
Gigi is very dignified and reserved, but she was
happy to see me again too. 
New collar bling! to be distributed among the dogs in the
next few weeks.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Running out the clock

We leave for Montana on Wednesday. I'm trying to get perishable food consumed, the house in order, and the yard work done before we go. It's actually been a little less hectic than some travel preparation experiences, mainly because it's been hot and dry which has minimized the grass growing and given me plenty of opportunities to get ahead of it.

Having just eight dogs has helped too. Feeding time is a breeze and everyone knows and follows the routine. Most of the dogs will be staying at home with the house sitter. Everyone has been treated for fleas and ticks since I discovered about 20 of them on my legs after a hike one day last week.

I've been hiking most days, but only about three to four miles at a time. We did four miles this evening but that was really about two miles too far for the husky. He really likes to go, but I think he's going to be taking it easy until sometime in September. July and August are just too hot for a husky in Virginia, especially one who is 12 years old.

TJ's new coat has grown in nicely. He's much darker now.
It would have been nice if he had kept the short hair until fall.

We visited here on Sunday. It's a log cabin owned by the
Fluvanna Historical Society and it was open for the day.
The simplicity is appealing, but I think it would be hard to
share this amount of space with another person. Also, I'd
cut a hole in the wall and put in a window unit air conditioner.

We saw this guy on the trail on today's hike. We surprised
a deer too, but didn't get a picture of that.
Most of my dogs are short distance walkers:
TJ, Trooper, Gigi, and Sparky. Even Max
tends to exhaust himself by pulling too much
and then not being able to go the distance.
It's going to be just Maya and Theo for any
walk more than two miles until cooler
weather hits again this fall.

The big oak tree at Pleasant Grove, in all its summer glory.

Saturday, July 8, 2017


There's a lot of American history in Virginia, some good, some bad. A lot of it very bad. They say that the winners write the history, but I don't think that holds true in the American south. Losers still dominate much of the political structure of the south. I value history as much as anyone, but many in the south have chosen to fetishize it rather than learn from it.

The Charlottesville area has had a debate recently, as have many other southern towns and cities, about confederate civil war monuments and statues that dominate the city parks and town squares. I am of two minds on this issue, but at the end of the day I believe that a community has the right to have its public spaces reflect the community as it exists today. Although each generation has an obligation to preserve the past, the past generation does not have the right to rule the future. That is the antithesis of progress, although that is a view and a preference espoused by many. Some communities are more progressive than others. Some will change and progress with time, some will remain mired in the past. That's a choice each community is entitled to make.

Today there was a KKK rally at one of the city parks in Charlottesville around a statue of Stonewall Jackson. These people were mostly from out of state but they set their sights on Charlottesville because it's a city that has decided to remove the statues of dead confederates from its parks and to rename the parks. There are legal issues that will work through the courts, but it unfortunately caught the attention of the Klan and neo-nazi groups. About 20 of these low lifes showed up in Charlottesville today, each of them the epitome of pure white trash. The event was indistinguishable from your typical Trump rally.

While I have had mixed feelings about the archaic civil war monuments and statues, I'm beginning to believe that if they are going to attract this sort of element to town, rather than merely moving them it might be better to melt them down and supply the metal to a modern sculptor for a commissioned work to represent what the community stands for today, not 100+ years ago.

Those are just some of my thoughts on today's events. The pictures are of Maya and TJ walking at Pleasant Grove, a historical property, now a park, in Fluvanna County, Virginia.

Deer have been spotted.
Two deer running across the road not far
in front of us.

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Calling

I had a couple of crates that I didn't need. They had been given to me and I passed them along to my friend Jackie who, with her husband Dave, runs an organization called Peaceful Passings Senior Animal Rescue. It's a rescue group ran out of their home that takes in senior pets who have been abandoned by their owners.

I'd like to think that there's a special place in hell for people who dump old dogs, animals that have given their full life and entire devotion to their humans, just to be hauled off like junk. I don't really believe in hell, but I may just believe in karma. People who dump their old dogs because they can't see, hear, or walk very well are setting an example for their children that may just come back to bite them on the ass. We can only hope.

Anyway, Peaceful Passings takes in seniors. They are mostly, but not entirely, small dogs because small dogs live so much longer. Senior dogs are challenging. They have greater than average medical needs and the expenses that go along with them. They are also challenging emotionally because you know from the start that they won't be with you long. In some cases all you are providing is hospice care and the best possible end of life experience. I've taken in a number of senior dogs and I've never regretted it. They have given me some of the greatest rewards imaginable, and many that were never imagined. But to have a rescue devoted exclusively to seniors, that's a calling. It's certainly an unmet need and it's one that I'd like to focus on myself more and more, particularly since Jack taught me that I'm past the age for dealing with young dogs.

Jackie not only runs Peaceful Passings, she is also the adopter of Patch, who has found or joined in on the calling. Patch carries the title of Vice President at Peaceful Passings because of the help he provides to the cause. He's a German Shepherd Dog so he watches, he listens, he keeps an eye on what's going on. He protects the house, of course, but he also monitors each individual in his charge, checking on their health and well-being, providing the security and comfort that can only come from a big, calm, furry beast. Patch knows and understands the calling. He has taken it on himself to welcome the newcomers and make them feel safe and secure. He provides that communicative link between the human and canine worlds that he shares. That ability is his special genius, and he has found a calling that puts it to good use.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Hot weather walks

I had the crates out of the van for cleaning so
TJ made his way up front, completely ignoring
the fact that it was a "no Husky" zone.
I didn't get out to walk on Wednesday, but I did twice on Tuesday. First with Maya and TJ, about 2.5 miles. That was far enough for TJ but he held up well and he wouldn't admit it even if he didn't. In the evening I went out again with Maya and Theo, for a little over three miles. Pleasant Grove was completely deserted, except near the end of our walk there were some kids shooting off fire crackers near the ball fields. Theo beat a hasty retreat back to the van. We hate fireworks. Actually, I like the colorful ones, but the noise makers are pointless and stupid, and they scare the dogs. All things considered, we didn't have much 4th of July panic around here, other than the constant dread for the state of the country, and that's year round at this point.

Maya conserves her strength on hot days for
important events like deer or squirrel sightings.

Water crossings are welcome respites for all of us.

 By the way, I received this picture of Jack from his new home. He's doing well, fitting it, and with a pool and a stick, you know he's a happy dog. He starts obedience training next week.